White Castle’s Vegan Burger is Really Tasty

white castle vegan slider

White Castle is a burger chain by me in the Midwestern US.  They started offering a vegan burger about a year and a half a go and I didn’t really pay attention because sometimes I like to pretend I eat healthier than that, LOL.  I just tried their vegan burger for the first time today and it is FANTASTIC!!!  Now I’m mad at myself for not going sooner.

The burger itself is by Dr. Praeger, which is a frozen brand of plant-based burgers.  The specific type used is the California Veggie Burger, which has cute little chunks of carrot and eda mame (soybeans).  Praeger’s website says the whole line of burgers are “Certified Vegan”.  Nice.

The manager of the White Castle I went to was really sweet and he informed me that the veggie burgers are cooked on their own separate meatless grill.

Even better, the bun is already accidentally vegan:

(From Foodfacts.com)

Traditional Bun ingredients (29)

white castle vegan slider
Of course I got it without ranch sauce.  They also come with optional onions and pickles.  They had a ton of other accidentally vegan sauces to put on it, but plain old accidentally vegan ketchup was perfect.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 30 December, 2013: Strawberry Crepes and Chewy Tofu Bacon

IMG_3928 vegan strawberry flaxseed crepes

 

CREPE INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (or 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds put into the coffee grinder or food processor)
1 and 1/3 cups water and 1/4 cup cashew butter or pre-soaked cashews OR 1 and 1/3 cups soy or almond nondairy creamer and a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour

STRAWBERRY FILLING:

2 cups frozen or fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup water mixed with 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch

TOFU BACON INGREDIENTS:

1 package any kind of tofu, frozen, thawed, and squeezed dry
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon oil for frying

STRAWBERRY CREPE DIRECTIONS:

In a blender or food processor, combine the water, cashew butter, and flaxseed meal (or the soy nondairy creamer in place of the water and cashews), sugar, allspice, and vanilla.  Blend it extremely well.

Mix the resulting milk with the scant cup of flour until just blended — it will make a pourable batter.

Let the batter rest while you prepare the strawberries.

Mix the water, sugar, and arrowroot or cornstarch in a shallow bowl.  Place strawberries (they can be frozen) in a small pan and cook them on medium heat until they are heated through.  This can take up to seven minutes if you used frozen strawberries.  Add the water-sugar-arrowroot mixture to the pan.  Stir until thickened and take it off the heat.

Grease a nonstick griddle or flat pan  with about a teaspoon of oil or vegan butter.  Heat the pan to medium.  Use a ladle to pour out about a half cup of batter.  At this point it will cook like a pancake.  When about a dozen bubbles appear, gently flip the crepe over and cook for 30 more seconds.

Now the crepes can be served with strawberry filling rolled inside.  This recipe makes about 6 small crepes.  Sprinkle them with powdered sugar through a sieve or sifter.

FOR THE TOFU BACON:

Freezing tofu will give it a very meaty texture.  To freeze tofu, take it out of the package and drain off the water and put it in a freezer-proof container that gives some room for expansion.  Freeze overnight.  Thaw on the countertop the next day or thaw in the microwave or on stovetop if you’re in a hurry.  The tofu can now be squeezed dry like a sponge.

Combine the soy sauce, syrup, and nutritional yeast in large bowl.  Mix into a slurry.  Tear the tofu into bite sized pieces and immerse them to coat.  Thin the slurry down with a tablespoon or two of water if it doesn’t seem to be going far enough to coat all the pieces.

Fry the coated pieces in a shallow pan at medium heat until browned, about 3 minutes.  Using oil to fry them is optional.

 

 

Daily Vegan Lunch for 29 December, 2013: Mini Meatball Barley Italian Wedding Soup

vegan mini meatball soup vegan mini meatball soup
The fresh wheat bread with was made by my friend Yoshie from the natto post.  It was delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons oil
5 cloves garlic
2 cups onion, chopped
1.5 cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1/4 cup vegan baco bits
3/4 cup tomato paste OR 1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon basil
1 cup pearl barley
Up to 1 tablespoon of salt or to taste
1/2 package of Gimme Lean refrigerated vegan sausage, rolled into balls

DIRECTIONS:

In a very large stockpot on medium heat, fry garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons of oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add carrots, baco bits, sage, basil, and celery and allow it to stir-fry for about 5 minutes more.  Add ten cups of water.  Turn heat to high.  Bring the soup to a boil and then turn heat to medium-high, allowing it to simmer at a low boil for 20 – 30 minutes or until the largest piece of carrot is fork tender.

Stir in the cup of pearl barley.  It should take about 20 – 30 minutes to cook.

Meanwhile, roll Gimme Lean into balls and fry them at medium-high heat in a pan in a small amount of oil or in a tablespoon of water until they are brown.  You can also use purchased frozen veggie meatballs, cut up veggie sausage, or a can (do not fry) of rinsed, cooked beans such as navy beans or kidney beans.

Stir in the tomato paste or sauce.

You might have noticed at this point that this soup does not use broth.  When you consider that all vegetable broth is pretty much the strained water from boiling vegetables a long time, you can see why I didn’t worry about using actual broth.  Add salt, little by little, until the soup tastes good, up to a tablespoon.

Add the fried meatballs or unfried beans to the soup.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 22 December, 2013: Seitan and Two Potato Soup

seitan soup

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups seitan, tofu, tempeh, or veggie meat, chopped finely
2 cups peeled, chopped sweet potatoes
2 cups peeled, chopped potatoes
1.5 cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
8 cups vegetable broth

DIRECTIONS:

In the bottom of a large stockpot, sauté garlic and onions in oil or in 1/4 cup of water to make a fat-free version.  Add broth, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, carrots, and seitan.  Bring to a boil on high heat; this will take anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes.  Once it boils, turn the stove down to medium heat and simmer until sweet potatoes and carrots are tender.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 18 December, 2013: Seitan Fried Wonton Soup

You do not have to fry these wontons.  I kind of wish I had not fried them because this would have been a fat-free soup except for the optional dash of sesame oil.

vegan wonton dumpling soup IMG_3848

MAKING WONTONS:
1.Take the wonton wrapper (watch out because some brands contain eggs.  These are the simplest kind from the Asian grocery store.  They have three ingredients: water, flour, and salt) and dab water on its four sides.
vegan wonton dumpling soup seitan

 

2. Fold wonton in half and pinch open sides shut.

IMG_3843

3. Fold one corner over.

IMG_3844

 

4. Now fold the other side to make a little envelope.

IMG_3845

 

Voila!IMG_3846
INGREDIENTS:

1/2 a package of wonton wrappers, about 25 – 30 squares

FOR THE SEITAN FILLING:

1.5 cups cooked seitan (I used yesterday’s recipe!)
2 legs celery, roughly chopped, about 1.5 cups
3 green onions, roughly chopped, about 1 cup
1 tablespoon soy sauce plus 1 teaspoon sugar OR 1.5 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce

FOR THE SOUP:

8 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Dash sesame oil
3 cups bok choy or baby bok choy (or any other choy, like ong choy, just buy what’s on sale) chopped
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms and water for soaking (save water to add to soup)

1 cup oil for frying wontons and a small, high-heat proof pan, I use cast-iron

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the mushrooms in at least 1 cup of water until they expand fully, about fifteen minutes.
In a blender or food processor, combine seitan, celery, green onion, soy sauce and sugar OR vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce.  Pulse the blender until the ingredients are finely chopped and almost pasty.

Now make the wontons as you see in the photos above.  Optionally fry them in oil by bringing the oil to the smoking point in a shallow cast iron pan and dropping them in for only about 20 seconds each side.  Get them out of the oil quickly or they will burn.

To make the soup, combine broth, sliced and de-stemmed shiitake mushrooms and their soaking water, soy sauce, and bok choy in a large pot on medium-high heat until choy starts to wilt slightly.
Add the dumplings.  If you did not pre-fry the dumplings, allow the dumplings to simmer in the soup for about 5 minutes.  Finish with a dash of sesame oil.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 5 December, 2013: Unchicken Fried Rice

I swear, this is my last unchicken recipe of the year. For some reason, the stores in my area have been putting unchicken on sale so I had a lot to use up — then I made up my own tofu unchicken recipe with vegan mayo so it might seem like I’m unchicken obsessed.

un-chicken fried rice vegan

IMG_3791

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups cooked white rice, refrigerated at least 8 hours or frozen and thawed
1.5 tablespoons oil (canola, corn, or peanut oil works the best)

1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1.5 cups finely chopped carrot
1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1.5 cups green onion, chopped
2 – 3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil

4 – 5 Gardein Chicken Tenders or 2 cups other veggie meat or protein (seitan, tempeh, smoked tofu, etc)
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Thaw unchicken pieces on the countertop for 2 hours or microwave them for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

In a microwave-safe bowl or container, combine chopped carrot, peas, and corn. Fill with water until vegetables are covered. Microwave for 5 minutes on high. Alternately, cook veggies in water on the stovetop until it reaches a boil, turn heat down to medium, cover and allow to cook 10 minutes.

Drain the vegetables, set aside.

Chop the green onion and set aside and prepare rice, soy sauce, chopped unchicken pieces, vegetables, and sesame oil at stoveside.

In a large pan, heat oil until it reaches the smoking point. For this reason, DO NOT use a Teflon or non-stick coated pan as non-stick pans leach toxic chemicals into food when extremely hot! I use a cast iron pan.

Add the unchicken and stir-fry about 30 seconds. Unchicken will brown.

Add the vegetables, stir fry another 30 seconds.

Add the rice and soy sauce, stir fry about 1 minute until some of the rice browns.

Add the onion and sesame oil to finish; take the pan off heat source. Stir to incorporate.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 4 December, 2013: Unchicken Udon

Udon is the fastest meal in the East or the West. It is a street food in Japan. I like udon because the noodles don’t need cooking — they only need to sit in hot water long enough to separate. Even the frozen or dry ones don’t take very long.

un-chicken udon vegan

IMG_3789

2 packages dry, frozen, or refrigerated udon (I used refrigerated)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (sweet cooking wine, alternately, use any dry white wine and add a couple teaspoons of sugar)
2 tablespoons sake
1.5 cups green onions, chopped
Salt to taste

4 – 5 Gardein chicken tenders or 2 cups any vegetable protein (seitan, tempeh, smoked tofu) cut into bite sized chunks

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare veggie chicken by baking at 400 for 20 minutes on a cookie sheet. Turn over and let them cook for 5 more minutes.

Finely chop green onions and set them aside.

Mix broth, soy sauce, mirin, and sake in a pot on the stove and heat until nearly boiling on medium-high heat.

Remove noodles from packaging and drop them directly into the broth. Frozen or dry noodles will take up to 4 minutes longer than refrigerated ones.

If using refrigerated noodles, turn off the heat immediately. For frozen or dry, wait until the noodles are al dente.

Add onions and mix.

Top the soup with pieces of unchicken or other veggie meat.